Low-Maintenance Friendship is Not a Myth

low maintenance friendship

When you were a child and freshly entered school, you may remember how great it was to make friends. During that time, meeting new friends and hanging out with them almost every day was like a daily routine — your ride-or-die in almost every aspect of your life. 

Then you entered your 20s and graduated from university, found a new job, all by yourself. At the same time, you might have felt a little bit lonely since there are no more 4-hour calls or long texts after class. All your friends were busy with their own life as well, settling themselves into the adult world.

All these things are normal; human relationships are one of the most dynamic things that could occur. Your feeling of loneliness at first is a sign that your relationship with your friend was important and influential. 

When you were a student in elementary, friendship is important in developing a sense of community and emotional security. 

Then as you grew up as a teenager, you still find your relationship with your friends as important as ever. That is because friendships are common boosters of self-esteem and are seen as perceived support for adolescence and, at that age, people tend to expand their network of friends. 

By the age of 20, particularly in the mid-20s, naturally, the circle of friends you made along the way will reduce. Most people at that age have limited energy to maintain a wider circle of friends. Instead of having all-nighters and non-stop chats, they will maintain the closest ones and gradually hang out occasionally, maybe once in 3 months or sometimes just twice in 6 months. This is called a low-maintenance friendship. 

But what exactly is a low-maintenance friendship and how should it be established and maintained?

What is a low-maintenance friendship?

A low-maintenance friendship is an urban term for a relationship between the closest ties of people that does not require much maintenance, like the intensity of meeting and spending time together, but still emotionally close and trusting each other. 

As in the friendship concept, the maintenance of the relationship generally refers to the individual’s behavior to keep the relationship existing, to keep the relationship at a certain specific condition, to keep the relationship in a satisfactory condition, and to keep the relationship in good terms (Dindia & Canary, 1993). This definition gives light on why people keep their engaging behavior in their friendship still satisfying and committed over a long time.

Low-maintenance friendships can be characterized by a moderate amount of checking on each other and you can always be yourself no explanations required. Keeping in touch is not an obligation because you truly cherish each other and the time spent together. Although you only catch up once in a while, you can easily pick up where you left off and still have fun always. Also in low-maintenance friendships, you grow more understanding toward each other and become less worried and insecure about the relationship with your friends.

Why low-maintenance friendships can be good for you

Embracing low-maintenance friendships does not mean you have to be out-of-reach for a long time or meet each other just occasionally. Despite the assumption that a low-maintenance friendship does not have to be in full 24/7 contact, you still need to maintain the relationship respectively and regularly. These are some benefits you reap when you have a low-maintenance friendship:

No risk of alienation

By embracing each other’s “busyness”, you get to live your own life and your friends can also live their lives too. You will gradually learn to cherish your intimate relationship and understand each other more.

Less drama

High-maintenance relationships will surely end in hellish tension when expectations aren’t met. But low-maintenance ones don’t have these expectations. The rules don’t dictate that you have to meet every day. You recognize that you still love and care for each other even when you’re apart for a while. It would be unwise to put that kind of pressure on your relationship when you respect each other’s time and space so much.

Long-time support system

As in friendships, everyone will know how precious the relationship and the time spent together with them are. The understanding between each other will also increase as everyone also faces the same adulthood reality. 

Thus, when you have something to vent about, you will always have an emotional safety net from your friends. When you’re going through something, short calls or texts are very much cherished until you get better and become ready to face the world again

In conclusion

Relationships that require the least amount of effort to maintain are called low-maintenance friendships. It is not necessary for them to be attended to, to follow rules, or to have expectations. Every once in a while, you’ll meet up for meaningful reasons — and it’ll be easy since you’ll love it. Now more than ever, you don’t need to stay in constant contact with them because you always know they’re there for you. As time and distance pass, you both become so confident of each other that you don’t even think about it anymore.

If you would like to know more science-based tips on maintaining close friendships, check out the Personal Science Labs. The lab uses the research of the Institute for Life Management Science to produce courses, certifications, podcasts, videos, and other learning materials. Visit the Personal Science Labs today.

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